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Election Day is Here!

November 6, 2018

One of the most highly-anticipated and bitterly contested midterm elections is today.  Here are a few observations as we wait for results:

Early voting

With over 40 million Americans having cast early ballots in 2018, early turnout and mail ballot counts have smashed previous years' figures.  In fact, early voting is up almost 45% over the 2014 midterm election.  In Texas and Nevada, early voting has eclipsed total voter turnout in 2014.  So what does it all mean?  Some pollsters suggest that the dramatic jump in early votes could signal a larger than expected "blue wave".  Others data scientists warn against making such predictions and don't use early voting figures at all in their projections.

The year of the woman

A record 53 women ran for Senate in 2018 and 476 women ran for office in the House.  Twenty two of the 53 running for Senate won party nominations and 235 women won their House primaries.  That makes a total of 257 women on ballots today for service in the 116th Congress.  And let's not forget about the power female voters hold this year.  Women aged 18-44 are expected to be a critical demographic in dozens of races around the country.  Four in ten women in that age bracket saying they are "more enthusiastic" about voting this year than any previous election.  Polling shows that twice as many women aged 18-44 identify as Democrats versus Republicans so the GOP has its work cut out to capture this key voter group today.

Big names on the stump

If you weren't aware of the massive implications of today's midterms, just take a look at who's been on the campaign trail.  National figures including President Trump, former President Obama and former VP Joe Biden have inserted themselves into races across the country with intensity that has not historically been seen in midterm elections.  President Trump alone has hit the campaign trail hard, recently undertaking several grueling multi-stop travel days for campaign rallies.  For the Democrats, Joe Biden has been spotted knocking on doors and helping with canvassing efforts.

Turnout, turnout, turnout

Every political novice knows that turnout is always critical to victory but seasoned observers have noticed a trend that may be encouraging to Democrats in 2018.  In every special election in both 2017 and 2018, Democrats have increased their turnout compared to relative turnout increase for Republicans. Sign of a blue wave?  Some pollsters say yes.  But not so fast.  Donald Trump has mostly managed to dominate the headlines, even without his name on the ballot today.  Most political observers see turnout driven by enthusiasm for—and against the President. Will President Trump's star power and economic successes help the GOP hold their majorities?  We'll know soon enough!

 

Leidos Digital Solution, Inc. is the leading provider of IT Services and Consulting to government offices on Capitol Hill plus federal, state and local government agencies around the country.

As wild as the 2016 presidential election and the preceding campaigns were, it’s hard to believe that the 2018 midterm elections are practically upon us. And yet, nearly half of primary elections have already taken place. So what’s in store for America in November? Here we’ll examine the trends we’ve seen so far from the primary elections.

  • Of the 194 Democratic seats in the House, 185 of those are considered safe.  Of the 236 Republican seats in the House, 174 are believed to go safely back into GOP hands. 

  • Retirements will play a major role in 2018.  There are 32 Members of the House of Representatives retiring this year including the most high profile Member of all, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. Add 14 resignations in the House and you’ve got nearly 50 seats up for grabs.  On the Senate side, only 3 retirements have been announced on top of 3 resignations. The death of Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York in March leaves an additional vacancy in the House. 

  • Of the hundreds of Congressional races scheduled for November, dozens are considered competitive races according to ratings watchers. Of the competitive races, 17 are likely to lean Democratic, 20 are considered tossups, and 57 are likely to lean Republican.

  • The anti-establishment wave felt during the 2016 elections continues, though perhaps not as dramatically. For progressives, the biggest shakeup came during Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shocking victory against 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District primary. Far left candidates also won two gubernatorial primaries: Ben Jealous in Maryland and Rep. Jared Polis in Colorado.

  • Another shocking upset came from North Carolina’s 9th District GOP primary where three-term incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger was defeated by newcomer Mark Harris of Charlotte, NC. In a district once considered solidly Republican, the GOP nominee will face off against Charlotte Democrat and former marine Dan McCready in an election now considered a “toss up” by many analysts. Mark Harris, who considers himself a populist in the mold of President Donald Trump, mobilized evangelical and conservative voters. 

  • Women are running, and winning, in larger numbers than ever before. Of all the candidates running in the midterms nearly 600 are women.  469 female candidates for seats in the House, 53 for the Senate, and 73 women are running for governorships. More than half of these candidates have already made it through their primaries, and so far, more women have won than lost.

These are just a few of the key takeaways from the primary season so far, but it looks like it’s shaping up to be another interesting fall and a wild November.

More than half of primary elections have taken place in states across the country ending blackout periods for many Members of Congress. However, even as many Members are coming out of blackout periods, time is quickly running out before blackouts begin again on August 8th. Here are a few tips for maximizing your communication efforts during this open period of time. 

Live stream town hall events

One great way to connect and engage with your constituents is through town halls, including virtual town halls. Virtual town hall services, such as Access Live, are an easy, scalable solution for reaching even large and diverse districts and communities. Studies have shown that a single virtual town hall event can increase approval ratings on a specific issue by as much as 38%. Access Live allows you to dial out to your constituents directly, stream live to your website and social media networks, and interact with your audience through live polling and taking questions directly from callers. With live support from the IQ and Broadnet teams, and the ability to sync your data directly into your CRM, Access Live events are the easiest virtual town hall solution on the market and are ideal for reaching your community before blackouts begin again. We recommend holding one virtual town hall per week every week until the next blackout begins on August 8th. 

Email outreach

It might seem obvious, but one of the easiest and effective ways to reach your constituents is through email outreach. Now is a great time to let your constituents know about the biggest issues you’ve worked on this term, about the issues that you are committed to continuing to pursue, and to collect feedback from your district on how you’ve been doing so far. Communication shouldn’t be a one way street. Be sure to include surveys, embed rich content, and ask for feedback in your outreaches.

Optimize website content

Now is a great time to take a critical eye to your website and make sure the content is as good as it should be. If you’re reaching out to your constituents via the two steps above, you will likely see an increase in traffic to your website. You’ll want to be sure you’re putting your best foot forward in representing the work you and your office are doing to promote the interests of your constituency. 

Clean up your data

The pre-election blackout will be here before you know it and your outreach needs to land.  Clean up your data now and make sure your messaging makes it to your constituents’ inboxes. Work on expanding your email subscriptions through email marketing and virtual town halls so that when blackouts hit, you will still be able to reach a large segment of your district.

These next six weeks will be critical in getting in front of your constituents before blackouts begin again. To speak with a sales representative about sending out email communications or planning your next Access Live virtual town hall event, email iq.info@leidos.com or call us at 703-206-0030.